Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Snapchat. Texting, emailing, and status updating—our world is more connected than ever, and most of us are living our lives in multiple online communities. While this interconnectedness expands our worlds and introduces us to new people and experiences, it can be challenging to find a niche on the Web where faith and friendship can intersect.
That’s where Kelly Bedrich comes in. Bedrich launched a new social networking community founded respect, support, and a relationship with God: Christian Spaces. Bedrich, President and Co-Founder of Cypress Capitol Ventures, has been in the tech industry for over twenty years, and although founding this site is right up his alley, Christian Spaces is more of a personal accomplishment than a professional achievement.
Christian Spaces operates like most social networking sites: bridging relationships over distances, helping people bond over common interests, and building support networks for all of life’s challenges, but with the added comfort of Christian lifestyles. Members can request prayer, seek advocacy for growth in their walks with Christ, and receive daily doses of meaningful encouragement. They build one another up, which is something not commonly found in most secular social media.
Bedrich caught up with us at New York Metropolitan magazine to chat about the site’s growth since launch, the types of communities he’s seeing develop, and his hopes for the future of Christian Spaces.
NYMM: Kelly, how has the site progressed since it launched?
Bedrich: The response we have received since ChristianSpaces went live has been tremendous. Members especially like that our site is built on Christian principles: Love God and love others. With the growth of more niche-based online communities, ChristianSpaces fills a need to serve by providing a positive, faith-based site.
What kind of success stories are you hearing from it?
Bedrich: Members from all over the world from Sweden to Australia have joined ChristianSpaces. They are so happy to have found an online community where they can grow in their faith and confidence by being encouraged by fellow Christians. One of our goals is to provide on online community that crosses borders to support each other in our Christian faith and we’re beginning to see this happen. We’re also receiving great feedback from the first set of small groups forming on our site. They are able to discuss upcoming Bible studies, prayer requests, and social gatherings. The groups love having a dedicated website for the purpose of sharing information within their faith based small group.
What kind of groups are you seeing form?
Bedrich: Primarily, we are seeing Christian small groups form such as life groups, Bible study groups, and prayer groups. Because of the faith based nature of the site and the fantastic functionality for groups on the site, Christian small groups are a natural for ChristianSpaces. As members of a small group at our local church, we know the importance of staying connected with our faith friends throughout the week. The groups functionality on ChristianSpaces provides a common platform where we can all communicate about a number of topics in an organized fashion.
How has ChristianSpaces changed and evolved since you first had the idea?
Bedrich: Watching ChristianSpaces go from an idea to a reality is both exciting and humbling. The idea initially came from a need that we had for our own small group but to see the idea of a Christian online community that has purpose and value to Christians all over the world is astounding. God truly uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
How can this type of site be disruptive in the world of social media?
Bedrich: Our hope is that a social network built on Christian principles will be the type of site that people will embrace. ChristianSpaces philosophy is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “therefore encourage one another and build one another up”. Imagine a social network where words of encouragement are spoken and members are genuinely supportive of one another. We think there are a lot of people that would find this type of site very appealing.
Ultimately, we want ChristianSpaces to not only be an online community for Christians but also a site that helps Christian organizations that are acting as the hands and feet of Jesus throughout the world. We want to use a large portion of our profits to support these organizations. How’s that for making Jesus real?
What’s next in terms of growth?
Bedrich: We are in the process of developing the ChristianSpaces app. The world is all about mobile and if we’re going to grow we need an app. We should be releasing the ChristianSpaces app for IOS and Android by the end of 2016.
In addition, we continue to enhance the functionality on the site. Similar to a ‘like’, we will soon be rolling out a praying hands tag to show friends that we are praying for them.
And finally, where would you like to see ChristianSpaces a year from now?
Bedrich: We would like to see steady growth in the membership base of ChristianSpaces with the release of the app and the growth of the network. We would like to see many small Christian based groups using the ChristianSpaces app as their primary communication tool. We would like to see a strong community of believers gathering behind an idea of a social network based on Christian principles.
For more information or to sign up for your own profile, visit https://christianspaces.com/ today!